Fla. L. Rev. Forum

Daniel Greene
The Right to “Cure” a Child’s Homosexuality?: A Constitutional Analysis of State Laws Banning Sexual Orientation Change Efforts on Minors

In an effort to protect LGBT youth, in 2012 and 2013 respectively, California and New Jersey became the first two states to pass laws banning medical providers from practicing sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) on minors. Parents and practitioners alike immediately challenged both laws as violative of a myriad of constitutional doctrines. As of this writing, every court to hear challenges to anti-SOCE laws has upheld them as valid. Furthermore, since 2013, four additional jurisdictions have enacted anti-SOCE laws, and at least six more states are currently proposing similar legislation.

This Note is the first to review anti-SOCE laws under the Free Exercise, Establishment, and Due Process Clauses. After concluding that anti-SOCE laws likely stand up to such challenges, this Note compares anti-SOCE laws to compulsory vaccination laws. While vaccination laws have also been deemed constitutional under the Free Exercise, Establishment, and Due Process Clauses, most state legislatures have nonetheless provided religious exemptions for parents who wish to forgo vaccination for their children. This Note explores whether similar exemptions would be appropriate for anti-SOCE laws, and concludes that such exemptions are inapplicable. Accordingly, state legislatures should continue to enact anti-SOCE laws as modeled after California and New Jersey. Read more.

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